Oils in shampoo.

geirigeiri Member
edited August 2014 in Formulating
Hi everybody, i am working on my shampoo line and trying to get my formula right. I want to ask if somebody knows of what is usually the amount/percentage of oils in shampoos for volume shampoo? I am using now in my test formula 0.4 % of cocos oil and 0.5 % of jojoba oil!

Thank you,



  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    It is very unusual to see oil levels above 0.1% total in commercial formulas. Marketing hype to the contrary, most oils in shampoo formulas do nothing except interfere with cleaning. (Silicone oils being the exception)
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Oh, then i am using way to much oil in my formula:-/  also i am not using SLS surf. i will reduce this and check again. We had this feeling that the shampoo did not clean the hair enough! 

    Thank you @Bobzchemist :-)
  • RawMaterialGirlRawMaterialGirl Member, Professional formulator
    I've also read that even a small amount of oil can decrease the viscosity of a shampoo product. Anyone experienced this?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @rawmaterialgirl - yes, oil can also reduce the viscosity.  It happens with Fragrance oils all the time.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Anything which disturbs the 'lazy phase' of micelles is definitely going to affect the viscosity. 
  • RawMaterialGirlRawMaterialGirl Member, Professional formulator
    Thank you, @perry! @milliachemist - I like the term "lazy phase" - I haven't heard it before. What do you mean by it?
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    I am not sure where I read it but most probably it was used by Mr. Tony Lennick of Siltech in one of his articles. Think he was suggesting the most stable CMC where chances of any mess up are pretty much low or neglible. Or this is what I made of it :)
  • Probably "lazy phase" refers to the lowest energy state of such phase. But @geiri you can microemulsify your oils but up to 0,5% total. Apart from viscosity an excess of oil in your formulation will also decrease foam.

    Ajinomoto has an anionic surfactant family called Amilite and they improve foam when the formula contains oils. You could try it.
    Research & Development Manager Brazil at Alfaparf Milano.
    Owner and Content Director at Cosmetica em Foco.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Gustavo bang on money re the lazy phase.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2014
    in my experience, aliphatic oils with long carbon chains (e.g. coconut oil, joboba oil) are very hard to incorporate into products like shampoos; they are often the direct cause of phase separation, even when you use rheological stabilisers to prevent it

    if you want to be sure your shampoo will hold together, I'd suggest knocking your oil levels down to 1/10th of what you've got now
    UK based cosmetic chemist with 13 years' experience at the bench. I've worked with pretty much everything apart from pressed powders, soap, solid lipstick and aerosols.
  • So, for fragrances in shampoos and body/hand/facial cleansers with high to moderate foam, do large manufacturers use fragrance molecules and a few drops of "essential oils" and/or other oils (coconut, meadowfoam)? Fragrance molecules such as linalool, gerinol, etc? The fragrance molecules are based in denatured alcohol, I believe.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Fragrances have carriers like DPG, DEP and they are made up of so many ingredients (generally) that you cant define the fragrances in general. Every fragrance has a different composition, ethanol is seen with fragrances generally in finished products only. I am not an expert but this is what I have seen and learnt during my work experience.
    Perfumery itself is an entirely different discipline to learn.

  • Gotcha
  • Hi,

    I am formulating a natural shampoo for curly/dry hair with 3% of oils. I have obtained great results regarding applicability. I am using sugar/coconut based surfactants.
    I think the emulsification process will be determinant for the stability of the shampoo.
    What is your opinion about using 3% of oils in a shampoo formulation for dry hair?

    Thank you
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    I think that you will find that you can use a much lower level of oil and still achieve the same results if you use one of the deposition enhancers, like cationic  guar:  http://www.ashland.com/Ashland/Static/Documents/ASI/PC_10407_GuarBooklet.pdf

    Personally, I still insist on being somewhat old-fashioned. Shampoo should clean hair. Period. Once the hair is clean, then conditioner is used to aid oils and other conditioning agents. Trying to do both at once in a single product is asking for trouble - you won't clean or condition nearly as well as you can with two separate products. 
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • LisetLiset Member
    edited November 2014
    :) :) ;)
  • Thank you Robert,

    Yes, I am using a cationic guar in the formulation. It is a challenge to formulate products for curly/dry hair. You have to clean the hair and at the same time to avoid to remove the natural oils from them (sebum). I am formulating a new kind of natural shampoo for curly hair. I am going even further until 5% oils content and the results are great. I know that is not so conventional but is something new :-)

    The curly hair market is not so researched and I would like to enter with new ideas :-)
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    edited November 2014
    Maybe a 2-in1 shampoo is your solution. Regular formula with a silicone (in an anionic dispersion) and a deposition agent, works pretty fine in terms of cleaning/conditioning both.
    But i concur with @ Bobzchemist on that old school thing, let the shampoo do the cleaning, save the rest for conditioners and oils. 
  • I am using natural oils in the formulation like jojoba. They are not producing hair build up and its composition is very similar to the sebum; the natural conditioner of the hair. In my opinion the cleaning process is easier when you don't have hair build up, then you can use mild surfactants for cleaning the hair.
  • LisetLiset Member
    edited November 2014
  • In my opinion, if you are formulating for curly hair, the shampoo has to be somehow different. You have to clean but at the same time do some conditioner work. If you only clean and also remove all the oils from the hair you will not able to condition the hair with a 2 minutes rinse out conditioner in a proper way.
  • Thank you to all of you
  • CosChemFanCosChemFan Member
    edited January 2015
    Hi @Liset

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I have unprocessed afro-texture hair myself. But at the same time I agree with @Bobz that shampoo should clean. It has me on the fence with my formulations because though I understand the science (mostly), I've been taught to believe that my hair needs special treatment.

    Perry posted a while ago that as long you use a good conditioner after shampooing then it doesn't matter what shampoos you used. I tried this on my hair one night to test it. I made a VERY basic shampoo with "the hair killer" SLES and used a good conditioner I had laying around. My hair felt squeaky clean from the shampoo, but felt great after conditioning. So many the wheel doesn't really need to be re-invented for afro-texture hair?
  • yes shampoo is for removing oily components not adding them (as long as you don't like oily hair)
  • geirigeiri Member
    hi, good read:-), I want to ask you guys another question regarding the formula. I am considering changing my surfactants to a blend of :

    Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate & sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, and i want to ask if i can put : "Sulfate Free" on my bottles? 

    All the best and STILL working on my formula 

  • geirigeiri Member
    edited May 2015
    and thank u @Gustavo @Bill_Toke
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Yes, if you are using those surfactants you can put "sulfate free" on the bottle.  (At least it's ok in the US)
  • geirigeiri Member
    Ok thanks a million @Perry ;
  • I have added argan oil to the formula make the hair more soft
    Nice topic ?
  • I make to start hair shampoo liquid 
    My ingredients are
    what should Iadd ?
    what oil should I put in?Please help me?

  • Start a new discussion and show %
  • Start a new discussion and show %
    SLE 60g
    betain 10g
    CDE 5g
    conditioner 10g
    glycerin 5g
    Nacl 35g  for 1liter water
    Are these right?
    what do I need to put in?
    I hope you can help me?

  • You need to start a nee discussion and show % not grams. And INCI names not ‘conditioner’
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @myatmyat - there is a button on the right column of this website to start a new discussion

  • oh oh ; ?
    This is new start! I don't understand ,so I ask for help
    pls don't ask me if you can't explain
     it depends on the percentage at last you can put it in g(or)kg 
    I hope  this group is  to help each other.
  • AzizAziz Member
     I made a VERY basic shampoo with "the hair killer" SLES and used a good conditioner I had laying around. 
    the hair killer " SLES ?
  • bil7bil7 Member
    Funny amazing Aziz said:
     I made a VERY basic shampoo with "the hair killer" SLES and used a good conditioner I had laying around. 
    the hair killer " SLES ?
    Funny amazing
  • Oils won't do anything useful in a shampoo
    and they will reduce foam, cleansing ability and viscosity.

    If you must add oils for marketing purposes, add them in claim ingredient levels 0.01% or so.

    You can try synthetic "water soluble oils" like PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate to see if you like them, although it also reduces foam and viscosity a bit, but nowhere near as bad as vegetable oils do.
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